Which? will defend the UK’s collective action regime in a pivotal Supreme Court hearing taking place today.
On 13 and 14 May, the landmark Merricks vs Mastercard collective action will reach a crucial moment as the Supreme Court hears Mastercard’s appeal against a ruling that may allow the £14 billion collective action against the card issuer to proceed to the next stage of litigation.
Which? has long campaigned for the introduction of collective redress for consumers. However five years after the Consumer Rights Act 2015 was introduced, with the aim of increasing access to justice for victims of anti-competitive behaviour, no claim has yet been allowed to proceed to a full trial.
Given the importance to consumers that the regime operates effectively, Which? is intervening to provide additional input to the court on the importance of the regime in providing effective redress to consumers.
In 2016, former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks CBE launched a class action on behalf of 46 million customers against Mastercard. The claim relates to the European Commission’s 2007 finding that the card issuer charged inflated card fees on consumer card transactions between 1992 and 2008.
The claim was brought as an opt-out collective or class action, made possible by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The Supreme Court ruling will be a very important landmark for the UK’s new regime as it will set the standard which claims of this nature need to meet in order to proceed as a collective action.
Caroline Normand, Which? Director of Advocacy, said:
“Which? has long campaigned for a collective redress scheme, but with no claim under the new regime reaching a full trial, consumers have not yet had the results they need.
“This Supreme Court hearing is therefore a vital one for consumers and Which? has intervened to ensure the regime achieves its purpose of providing real access to justice.”
Notes to editor
Which? is represented by collective action specialists Hausfeld & Co LLP and Tristan Jones of Blackstone Chambers.
More details on Merrick vs Mastercard case is available here: https://www.mastercardconsumerclaim.co.uk/